This post is dedicated to my sweet friend, Joan Hayes, who passed away suddenly and unexpectedly last week from a heart attack.
Joan ran the blog Chocolate, Chocolate & More and she was great at what she did. Her blog is filled to the brim with delectable desserts – most of which feature chocolate – and she was so proud of that blog!
I first met Joan years ago at an online blogging conference. She ran the Facebook page for the conference and I would talk to her all day long. We became fast friends, and in those early days I was so excited to know her. She was rich with knowledge about blogging and Facebook in particular, and she was always willing to dole out sage advice whenever someone needed it.
Luckily, I had the opportunity to meet Joan earlier this January at the Click Retreat cruise to the Caribbean. Joan and I instantly became attached at the hip, drinking pina coladas on the boat while we sailed and sticking together during excursions. (And sneaking in way too many Coconut Ranger Cookies from the cafeteria).
Spending a week nonstop with someone allows such wonderful opportunities to really get to know them on an intimate level. Joan and I talked about our families, our dreams, our goals and our careers with brutal honesty and advice to lend one another. Joan and I had similar goals in mind, both of us wanting a cookbook that we could proudly show the world was ours. Joan also wanted hers for bragging rights to her small town in Georgia 🙂
I remember touring St. Thomas with Joan and going into a small Belgian chocolate shop, picking out all the different types of chocolates to try. She bought a big ol’ package that day to share with her family back home. The woman loved her chocolate!
I would later hang out with Joan at a retreat in Santa Barbara where she crashed my site by sharing one of my recipes on her 2.5 million-fan Facebook page (and for that, I was eternally grateful!). We had a fabulous time drinking wine and Kahlua & creams (her favorite!) and chatting the days away.
And lastly, I saw her most recently in Seattle for IFBC. Joan, myself, and a couple of our blogging friends went on a chocolate tasting tour around the city. It seems like just yesterday we were sampling some of Seattle’s best chocolate together, laughing and hanging out in the rainy afternoon. And now she’s gone. The feeling has left a void inside that I’m not sure will ever heal properly. Losing a friend is something people don’t prepare you for, especially at such a young age (she was only 49). And I’m most definitely not prepared to say goodbye.
If I’d known the last time I’d see her would be in Seattle, I would have hugged her a lot longer and refused to let go. I would have told her what a huge inspiration she was to me, and what a ginormous pillar she is in our wonderful, wacky community of bloggers. I would have asked her if we could grab another Kahlua & cream one last time as a toast to her awesomeness. Aaaaand here come the tears…
The moral of the story? Hug your loved ones a little tighter tonight, because you never really know what tomorrow will bring. Or even tonight, for that matter. Joan leaves behind three children whom she loved fiercely, and her legacy will live on through her blog and Facebook page.
A bunch of bloggers and I have teamed together with the hashtag #chocolateforjoan to celebrate Joan’s life and legacy as we are trying to keep her blog alive as a source of income to her family back in Byron, Georgia. If you don’t mind, would you pay her site a visit? I know she’d love if you stopped by with a big cup of coffee and stayed awhile… she has some amazing recipes on there!
In the meantime, as a tribute to my dear friend, I made you this Double Chocolate Ganache Pie. It’s absolutely incredible – smooooooth and creamy as butter, rich and sweet and packed to the brim with chocolate. Joan would have adored this, and I know you will, too!
Miss you, friend.
Double Chocolate Ganache Pie
- FOR CRUST:
- 1 pkg. Oreo cookies finely crushed
- 6 Tbsp butter melted
- FOR PIE:
- 12 oz semi-sweet chocolate chopped (I used 3 boxes of Baker's Semi-Sweet Chocolate)
- 4 Tbsp butter cubed
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 3 Tbsp sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a tart pan with a removable bottom with cooking spray and place it on a baking sheet. Set aside.
- Combine the Oreo crumbs and the melted butter and gently stir to combine. Press evenly into the prepared tart pan and bake for approx. 8-10 minutes or until set. Cool completely.
- Once tart crust has cooled, make your ganache. In a large bowl, add the chopped chocolate and butter; set aside. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, heat together the heavy cream, sugar and vanilla over medium heat or until mixture begins to simmer. Pour the cream mixture over the chocolate and set aside for about 5 minutes. Once five minutes is up, stir or whisk to combine until ganache is creamy and smooth.
- Spread the ganache into the prepared pan and even out the top. Refrigerate for approx. 2-3 hours or until set before cutting into slices. I served mine on a bed of chocolate and caramel sauce, but this would be great with whipped cream, raspberries, and/or ice cream, too!
Rich, decadent, creamy and smooth, this chocolate ganache pie is one for the books! It’s perfect for any chocolate lover… make it today and remember my sweet friend, Joan.
Have a sweet day!
Michele @ Alwayzbakin says
What a beautiful tribute to your friend Joan. I knew her blog and visited it many times. So sad. Thank you for sharing your sweet story.
Thanks for your kind words, Michele! <3
Lovely, Hayley…both the recipe and the tribute. I miss Joan so much.
I miss Joan too! It’s going to be hard to get over what happened, but I’m glad we have each other to help through it. <3
I would’ve hugged her a little tighter too, my friend. What a blessing it was to be able to spend so much time with her this year.
Thanks Mary! <3
Aimee @ ShugarySweets says
The sadness I feel about someone I never got to meet is overwhelming. But I feel through all these stories, her legacy will live on! This pie is amazing, and I love that it’s sitting in a pool of chocolate and caramel. I can’t wait to see you next week 🙂
You know it, Aimee! Can’t wait to see you!
Julianne @ Beyond Frosting says
I am sending you virtual hugs and just 7 days until I can hug you in person. I know you and Joan were very close, I think it is rare to find true friends in this blogging world as we try and navigate through. What I find so special about you is that you always tell it like it is, and you aren’t afraid to show who you really are. You are an amazing person and that is just one of the few reasons Joan cared about you.
I can’t wait until we meet again!
Dorothy @ Crazy for Crust says
Such a great post, my friend. I love you lots (and this pie – it was so yum!)
Thanks Dot! <3
Laura | The Kiwi Country Girl says
So sorry to hear about Joan. This pie looks fantastic, the perfect tribute! xx
Thanks so much, Laura!
These look tasty and beautiful!